Friday, February 28, 2014

Francois Halard / La Malcontenta / Zaha Hadid

Many years ago in design school I studied the architecture of Andrea Palladio.  Based on symmetry, his villas were the country homes of wealthy Romans and Venetians where they spent time away from crowded, polluted cities and entertained lavishly.  

In the 1500's Venetians Nicolo and Alvise Foscari commissioned Palladio to build their country house and Villa La Malcontenta is the glorious result.  

Image via

Exterior of La Malcontenta via

Floorplan of La Malcontenta via

Ceiling frescoes of La Malcontenta via

To commemorate Palladio's birth 500 years before, a descendant of the villa's original owners - Guilia Foscari - commisioned architect Zaha Hadid to present a sculpture designed by Mariagrazia Lanza and Fulvio Wirz at La Malcontenta.  After the installation, Francois Halard photographed the sculpture.  It was on the pages of his self titled book I discovered these stunning images.  


The sinuous winding sculpture is perfectly juxtaposed against the villas ancient, frescoed interiors and I found it hard to stop staring at the pages.  


Dramatic to say the least, one would expect the looming sculpture to demand a viewers full attention.  However, the frescos seem to perfectly balance the sculpture and demand attention of their own.  The two equally complement one another which is surprising.  In fact they seem to have synergy.  

This is what I love about great design.  When two opposite styles merge to create vitality and interest.  One is ancient, one is modern.  The sleek, steel sculpture covered in smooth fiberglass is the complete opposite of the soft, age-worn and fleshy frescoes.  
But somehow, it all melds together wonderfully.  

Next time I visit Italy La Malcontenta will be on my list to see and I encourage you to pick up a copy of Francois Halard's beautiful book.  It is a treasure trove of his fantastic memories and images.      
Until Next Time, 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Harper's Bazaar

Love it or hate it fashion drives many trends in the interior industry.
I read many fashion mags to keep up but my favorite by far is Harpers Bazaar redesigned in 2012 with GP on the cover. 

Full of eye-popping color the extra large pages leap out at me and the photography is PHENOMENAL.  Period.  

Glenda Bailey (pictured below) and her team have done a great job in this era of budget cutbacks to keep the magazine luxuriously full of editorial and not overrun with ads.
(photo via

It is what a fashion magazine should be:
provocative - a glamorous fantasy

This layout of Kate Winslet was stunningly gorgeous 
and made me want to try a cat eye stat!

And March 2014 was no disappointment either.  
The colorful pattern mashups in "Prints of the Season" is fabulously inspiring for me as a designer.  Take a look below...

This photo in particular took my breath away

The shot below was in LA....obviously ;) 
with creatures by Japanese artist Murakami

Here is Karlie Kloss in a Hermes scarf layout from Bazaar Spain 
(I also read the European issues if I can)

I'm crazy about the grouped accessory layouts.  Crazy good that is. 

Love this page of gorgeous modern day cameos...

To me Harper's Bazaar encapsulates what I look 
for in a great magazine....


Until Next Time,

(all photos via BAZAAR except where noted)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mark Hampton and My New Favorite App

Recently I came across a fantastic new app I must share with you.
I have always been drawn to the relaxed style of watercolor painting and been incredibly envious of the talented decorator and artist Mark Hampton.  His watercolor interiors are so charming!  Unfortunately my dreams of studying watercolor techniques never materialized.    

Mr. Hampton was truly gifted not just as a decorator but also as a painter.  
Here are a few of his watercolors:

Beautiful orange and turquoise watercolor interior

Sweet little hall vignette

Chiswick House

Lacquered walls and animal prints!

Renzo Mongiardino, bedroom watercolor of rug, Mark Hampton
Amazing detail in this watercolor of the fabrics in Lee Radziwill's bedroom

A lovely monochromatic living room

A dramatic emerald, ebony and gold dining room - noticed the mirrored walls and their reflections.

If you don't already have his books, you should add them to your design library.  I purchased mine while studying interior design in New York.  They are a treasured part of my book collection and I often refer to them.  

Enter 2014 technology.  
Now the Waterlogue app will take any photo and turn them into beautiful "painted" watercolors via ipad or iphone.  
OMG.  I'm seriously addicted.  

Stacks Image 401

Stacks Image 397

Here is an example:
A plain old photo of a pink chair is below....

And here it is "waterlogued"

And here is a lamp...

It works nicely on interiors too.  
Try it out and let me know what you think....

My Waterlogue watercolors may not be as gorgeous as Mark Hampton's but they are definitely better than what I would paint with real watercolors and brushes!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Barn In Connecticut...

I'm so excited to tell you about one of our new projects...
It is a new barn in Litchfield County Connecticut.

I have always dreamed of re-purposing a barn into a home and even went to the extent of looking at a couple of dilapidated barns to buy for my own personal residence so this project will be extra fun!

The site plan with the barn shown in the upper left corner

The folks at Harvest Moon Timber Frame in Morris, CT
will be building the barn.  

Preliminary sketches....

The barn will serve three distinct functions:

1. Storage of the client's antique car collection
2. Large party & entertaining space
3. Guest suite with bunk area for kids
4. A half court for basketball

Photo via Remodelista

The clients and I have both agreed on a gray and white color scheme for the exterior.  We will leave the beautifully rustic beam structure exposed on the interior.  A balcony overlooking the woods is planned and we will implement large windows to bring the outside in.  The clients want a soft-industrial look for the furnishings and we will discuss options for bath/kitchen finishes over the next few weeks.  

Interior photos via Mclean Quinlan Architects

It's thrilling to work on such a creative space and bring the client's unique vision to life!

Until Next Time,

design + development by fabulous k